Outdoor Plants Harmful to Cats & Dogs

by Scott Morgan
Oleander is especially dangerous to dogs and cats.

Oleander is especially dangerous to dogs and cats.

Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Lots of dogs and even some cats like to sample the menu when they wander into gardens or anywhere outdoor plants reside. Most plants won't harm them, but some outdoor plants can make your pets sick. If your pets go outside, minimize the risks by avoiding planting some of the more dangerous plants and flowers. If you suspect that they've eaten a dangerous plant, call your vet right away.

Crocus

Crocus plants come in two varieties, the spring-blooming and the autumn-blooming. Both can cause abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, but the effects of autumn crocus are much more severe. Autumn crocus can cause gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and respiratory failure. If you’re unsure which variety your pet might have ingested, take the plant and your pet to the vet immediately.

Azalea

Eating azalea leaves can result in vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling in pets. Azalea is extremely toxic to dogs and cats and can lead to coma and death if not treated immediately.

Cyclamen

Cyclamen plants are tubers that grow through the autumn and winter. Its roots are especially toxic and pose a threat to dogs who dig out the plant. Eating cyclamen roots can cause severe vomiting and even death.

Lilies

Lilies come in many varieties, some fairly harmless and some highly toxic to pets. Peace, Peruvian and calla lilies can irritate pets' mouths and cause minor drooling. But tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese show lilies can cause severe kidney failure in cats, even if very little is ingested. Dogs do not tend to have the same reaction, but it is best to keep them away from lilies of all kinds.

Oleander

Oleander is an evergreen plant that blooms delicate red or purple flowers. Its leaves and flowers, however, can cause severe vomiting and decreased heart rate in cats and dogs. If left untreated, oleander poisoning can lead to death.

Daffodils

Eating the crystals found in the outer layer of daffodil bulbs can irritate pets' mouths and cause drooling. But eating any other part of a daffodil can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, heart arrhythmia or respiratory distress in pets.

Lily of the Valley and Foxglove

Though two entirely different plants, lilies of the valley and foxglove can trigger the same symptoms in pets who have ingested them. Vomiting, diarrhea, a drop in heart rate, severe arrhythmia and seizures are common and can be life-threatening.

Sago Palm

Common in warmer climates, sago palms have leaves and seeds that can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining and severe liver failure in pets. If left untreated, ingestion of these leaves or seeds could lead to death.

Tulips

Tulip bulbs are extremely toxic, particularly to dogs who dig them up. Chewing on the leaves or stems can irritate your dog's mouth and esophagus and could lead to drooling, vomiting or diarrhea. Typically, the animal's system is flushed with fluids and recovery is likely. Eating the bulbs, however, can lead to rapid heart rate and severe respiratory distress.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

About the Author

Scott Morgan is an award-winning reporter and editor who has covered central New Jersey since 2001. He has worked with the Princeton Packet Newsgroup, US 1 Publishing, "Unique Homes Magazine" and Community News Service. Morgan also serves as a professional speaker and teacher. He holds a bachelor's degree in humanities from Thomas Edison State College.

Trending Dog Pet-Related House & Yard Care Articles

Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!